August 2, 3005
As more and more baby boomers reach their senior years, many will need medical care. But will there be enough nurses to meet the demand? The Virginia Nursing Shortage Task Force says no.
Martha Jefferson Hospital employs over 400 nurses, but they're still short. Amy Black helps with new hires and says the growing aging population has a lot to do with Virginia's current nursing shortage.
"The demand for services continues to increase so that creates more of a supply issue," said Black, Chief Nurse Executive at Martha Jefferson Hospital.
Over the years, heftier workloads and lower pay has forced some nurses away. And with less graduates choosing the nursing field, those positions are left vacant. Pediatric nurse, Teresa Tucker has felt the strain.
"The patients are sicker, so you feel like your being torn in more directions at one time, so you really do have to multi-task," said Tucker.
According to the Virginia nursing shortage task force, 22,000 more nurses are needed over the next six years. Particularly, in the critical care unit where recent grad Hugh Parrish will soon move into. Already, he declares nursing as the hardest job he's ever had.
"It keeps you on your toes, you never get to sit down, hardly time for breaks," said Parrish.
Still, that's not enough to make him forget why he chose this sometimes-thankless job.
"I look at nursing as being a puzzle, you have labs, different diagnosis, you have to put them all together to figure certain things out, and I love that critical thinking," said Parrish.
The nursing shortage task force plans to make recommendations on how to better the problem at next years General Assembly.